Tina Fey's stellar NBC sitcom 30 Rock led all shows and made history with a record 22 nominations. But outside of that network triumph, once again, cable TV dominated the prime-time Emmy award nominations announced Thursday in most major categories.
Premium cable channel HBO led the field with a total of 99 nominations, while NBC finished a distant second with 67. HBO ran away from the pack with its superiority in movies and mini-series. Grey Gardens, a film starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange as two eccentric relatives of Jacqueline Onassis, earned 17 nominations alone. Taking Chance and Generation Kill, two productions related to the conflict in Iraq, combined for another 21.
In an effort to widen the field, the Emmys increased the number of nominees in major categories this year, and there were seven for best drama and best comedy each. Cable swamped the networks in the most prestigious category of best drama.
Two of the top drama nominations went to basic cable channel AMC for Breaking Bad and Mad Men. The latter won the Emmy in 2008 and ran up 16 nominations Thursday -- second only to 30 Rock in the number of Emmys for any series.
In addition to being nominated as best drama series, Mad Men also made the cut in the categories of best actor for Jon Hamm and best actress for Elisabeth Moss.
And in a perfect blend of network excellence meets cable greatness, Hamm also is nominated for a guest-starring role on 30 Rock.